And to think that Morrison knew all about it. Well, to be more precise, both the Liberal and National parties knew of this rape before the 2019 election. In fact, right in the middle of the campaign.
Had it been disclosed at the time, it might have made the difference between winning and losing for Labor.
Shades of John Howard and children overboard again, but more important, however, this time is just who decided to do a hush job. You might recall his very Christian reaction when he became Prime Minister, but when a young woman was allegedly raped, he decided to cover up.
According to the victim, staffer Brittany Higgins, her rape took place in Defence Minister Lynda Reynolds’s office on 19 April after a Friday night drinking session.
The election was held on 18 May.
The damage that such an act would have done to the conservatives – both Liberal and National – during an election campaign would be immeasurable. So what did they decide to do?
Well, on the surface, at least it looks as though they decided to double up on her pain.
The poor girl involved says she didn’t make a formal complaint because she wanted to hang onto her job and not do any harm to the reputation of the Liberal Party. What reputation one might ask?
A follow-up meeting was held inside the same office; the offence is alleged to have taken place a decision the Government concedes is “regretted.”
What moronic individual made such an inhumane decision knowing that it would almost certainly do further harm. Was it intended to?
The issue of the toxic treatment of women inside Parliament House and men’s behaviour within the Liberal and National parties yet again raises its ugly head. Remember Barnaby Joyce and the affair that led to his marriage’s breakup. Remember the Attorney-General Christian Porter kissing in a Canberra pub.
Back to Brittany Higgins, it was reported that:
“… a man working for then-defence industry minister Linda Reynolds took a 24-year-old female media staffer into Parliament House after a Friday night drinking session in March 2019 and allegedly raped her inside the defence industry minister’s office.”
On the Ministers, couch to be exact.
She should hang a sign on her door. “No defence here.”
Her story follows many other women known and unknown who have experienced similar situations.
The junior staffer was very new to her job – just four weeks, in fact – before this horrendous experience occurred. She then had to endure the decision between making a formal complaint or keeping her career.
After it was made perfectly clear that she might lose her job, she was shunted into Employment Minister Michaelia Cash’s office before Ms Higgins resigned.
A statement from a member of the Prime Minister’s Office said the reports about the incident were “deeply distressing.”
“At all times, guidance was sought from Ms Higgins as to how she wished to proceed, and to support and respect her decisions.
Throughout the entire process the overriding concern for Government was to support Ms Higgins’ welfare in whatever way possible.”
It sounds like they were falling over backwards to help her make the right moves to their advantage.
But after all this time, even after being denied access to video footage of the two’s movements, Ms Higgins has decided to ask the AFP to investigate. The why of that is another question. Given their record of investigating this Government, I wouldn’t say I like her chances.
Come Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister in a solemn mood to fit the occasion, fronts the media with apologises for everything under the sun. He had discussed the matter with his wife overnight and now looks at it from the point of view of what if it were his children.
In what universe does a man need to be told by his wife to take a rape allegation seriously?
— Georgia (@GandWalter) February 16, 2021
His first defence was that he never knew, no one had told him anything. I found this to be wholly implausible, and secondly, that it was all a disgrace and he would move Heaven and earth to right everything. But as I said initially, I contend that the Prime Minister knew about it and wanted it covered up.
Of course, “not knowing anything” gave him the excuse to repair matters. Had he known, would not he have the obvious question; “Why didn’t you do something then?”
Samantha Maiden gets its right when she reports that:
“If history is any guide, he the Scott Morrison’s response to Brittany Higgins’ shocking account of sexual assault at Parliament House in Canberra will be open and shut.
He will urge her to take the matter to the police – which she did at the time – and perhaps suggest that is the beginning and the end of the matter?
But is it?
Or, do political parties owe the people that work for them – in this case a 24-year-old young woman – a more significant duty of care if they are sexually assaulted at work?”
If I might add to that, I think that Morrison gets away with his teary act too often and the “I wasn’t told” defence is just a poor excuse.
But time never diminishes the crime. What is needed is for men to grow up and be the men they are supposed to be. These events are just another addition to the many incidents of mistreating women.
My thought for the day
History is just an ongoing commentary on the incompetence of men.
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